Sunday, July 13, 2008
The Split Rock Sisters (or "Falling Down")
We left Duluth on Monday, July 8th, and headed north. Tink and I, who are familiar with the area, thought it was important for Scharlett (who is not) to see the Split Rock Lighthouse. If you're not familiar with the area, this is only about a 20 minute ride outside of Duluth, and is on the road that runs along the north shore of Lake Superior.
We arrive in the parking lot, but nobody seemed to know exactly where to park although there were lots of empty spaces. This is called "female confusion" when faced with a new situation AND your decision is based on the decision of the person in front of you who may or may not have trouble making a decision. I'm not sure exactly what was going on since I was in back, but I finally pulled myself into a spot and got off my bike, with Triker Bev pulling in along side me. Tink and Scharlett pulled around to the other side of the lot, which was nearly empty.
We all walked up to the door of the gift shop/office place and discovered we really didn't want to pay $8.00 to see a lighthouse, so we headed back to our bikes. I got mine started, and pulled around to where Tink and Scharlett were parked. I watched them get their gear situated before they mounted, and waited for Bev to come around. I don't know what I was looking at, but all of a sudden Scharlett yelled, "It's going over!" and....clunk....went her bike. Apparently, because of the slope, she really had to hoist it to get it upright, but...because of the slope, it went too far and over the other side. I ran over, and the three of us grunted the 900lb bike back on two wheels, and insisted the Scharlett take a moment to regain her wits.
That's when I announced, "Hey! We need a falling down pin!"
This was met with blank stares.
"Every group that goes on a big ride, or rides together regularly needs to have a falling down pin. When someone's bike falls down, they have to wear the pin AND BE NICE TO IT until the next person falls down, at which time it is then pinned on the new fallee."
*Note* "Falling down" is not the same as "going down". "Falling down happens when the bike tips over for silly reasons. For example, you get gas and you forget to put your kickstand down and try to walk away from your bike. "Going down" is a bad thing and something no rider wants to talk about because it happens when you get hit by something or you hit something while moving down the road, and usually requires an ambulance trip and sometimes helicopters.
Tink, Bev and I all agreed this was a fantastic idea. Scharlett kind of groaned but went along with it. We marched ourselves back to the gift shop and searched every shelf for just the right pin. Finally we found it, a pin with the Split Rock Lighthouse on it. Tink paid for the pin and we had a ceremony right there in the middle of the store. As a crowd gathered to watch our ceremony, much to the disgrace of Scharlett, we used our formal words to describe the purpose of the pin for the spectators. What you have to imagine though, is Tink and I laughing hysterically as we did it! LOL
With Scharlett pinned, we went back to the lot, mounted our bikes, and headed north. We were only about 30 miles down the road when I had reason to move out of my position of bringing up the rear, and pass Scharlett. Not knowing how much group riding experience Scharlett had, I thought about this for several miles before doing so. I didn't want her to panic when I went past her. Finally, with no oncoming traffic, I moved over to the other lane and went past. What I didn't count on was TINK (who was leading) seeing me in her mirror, freaking out that there was something wrong and SUDDENLY pulling over...on the road with really no shoulder. Everyone pulled up behind her (because they had time to do so) but I came to a stop just ahead of her. In my mirror I saw her get off her bike, and when I looked back...she and her bike were gone.
Because they were on the ground.
Ok, here's how it went. Tink stopped..on the road with not much of a shoulder...and when she put her feet down, there was no pavement under her right foot. Instead there was a 2 inch drop to gravel. Being the short-legged person that she is, this put her way off balance. Her bike SPIT her off, and....are you ready for it? She rolled head over heels down the embankment! She stood up and hollered, "Give me that *&#@ pin!!!!" You have to remember that she'd just rolled in all her gear and helmet down about a 5 foot drop, which makes one very top heavy, AND makes you look quite silly climbing back up!
We picked up our second bike for the day, and pinned Tink right there on the side of the road. Poor Tink! But, if you were following my twitter, you know that I could hardly text fast enough to tell about this! LOL
Later that same day we were in Grand Marais. We had done some shopping downtown and were headed back to our hotel when we came to an intersection that was uphill AND we had to make a right turn at the light. My bike has been having trouble going into first gear lately, but I didn't know I was still in second. I was at the head of the group when I went to make the turn, and killed the bike mid-turn. This is every bikers nightmare as this heavy piece of machinery suddenly STOPS mid-lean! This is where on would fall down, only I didn't. I could, however, FEEL Tink behind me WILLING me to fall down so she could get rid of that damn pin! When I turned to look, she could hardly stay upright because she was laughing too hard about the fact that yes, indeed, she'd been doing just that!
We went on to call ourselves the Split Rock Sisters, and there was much joking about "Pulling a Split Rock" and stuff like that. I spent the entire trip being so hyper-aware of everything I did getting on/off my bike! The best part though, is I never did get that pin!